JoAnn L. Heltibridle
Out of tiny, rural Taneytown, Md., came JoAnn Heltibridle, a woman determined to make her way in the big city. She put herself through college and began pursuing a career.
“Just to prove that she could do it,” said her niece, Lori Green. “Just to prove that women can be somebody, other than a housewife.”
She started in the insurance business at a Morristown, N.J., company that was acquired by Marsh & McLennan.
“She was pretty much the first one into the office every morning,” said Toni Definis, who worked for her in Morristown.
Before long, Ms. Heltibridle had an office on the 94th floor of the trade center’s north tower and had been named a vice president.
She was able to shed the power suits and switch off the corporate speak for her family, though, as well as the two cats she adored like children.
“We always called her a bottle of sunshine,” her niece said. “She was so beautiful, so down to earth.”
Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” one of her favorite movies, Ms. Heltibridle, 46, felt the tug of home. She frequently returned to Taneytown, where her mother, her brother and his children live.
Last September, she was expected home in time to watch the tractor pull at a local fair. And everyone knew she’d bring the cats, Taz and Ivy, her pride and joy. They live with her mother now.